Stewart Copeland and Stan Ridgway, "Don't Box Me In"

>> Friday, September 21, 2012

Not what I was looking for.  I was looking for Ridgway's cover of "16 Tons", which I heard a couple of nights ago and was a little bit ambivalent about whether it worked or not, but it did describe my mood pretty well this morning.  Couldn't find that, but I did stumble on this.  I didn't know about this.

And now I have this awesome fantasy of a parallel universe where The Police fired Sting and went on with Stan Ridgway at the mic.  No, seriously, listen to "Don't Box Me In"; the reason it sounds exactly like a Police/Wall Of Voodoo mashup, i.e. awesome, is completely self-evident but nevertheless kicks ass.  Sure, what else would it sound like?

Though, to be fair, maybe that wouldn't have worked out so well in the mid-'80s, not because it wouldn't have sounded exactly like... well, exactly like a Police/Wall Of Voodoo mashup (i.e., reprise, awesome) but because it's not like anybody knew that Sting would turn out to have two-and-a-half good albums in him (scattered, sadly, across more records than that) and otherwise would kind of... you know... suck.  I mean, in retrospect, sure, it's kind of obvious that there was something completely calculated and more than a little phony about a bunch of jazz guys slumming as reggae punks, no matter how much they rocked (and don't get me wrong: The Police rocked), so there's the template kind of already in place for the jazziest of them to get kind of pretentious and pointy-headed to the point of being kinda offensively boring when he's off on his own with nobody to check his head.  But at the time, I'm sure we all would have been really pissed The Police even thought they could go on without Sting, if they tried that.

And let's be fair that while Stan Ridgway brings something totally weird and Southwestern to the table, I don't know if we were ready to embrace it.  Wikipedia says "Don't Box Me In" got "significant radio airplay", but I have to admit I don't remember it at all and I think I would if it did.  Even so, Wall Of Voodoo was best-known for a song that was almost treated like a novelty song instead of the quirky postpunk wonder it really was, so I'm further inclined to say the world wasn't quite ready for something so awesome as my fantasy version of the post-Sting Police.

Whatever.  Guess I'm just kinda skylarking.  Hey, it's Friday, y'know?

I feel obligated to confess, as part of all this, that I also missed "Don't Box Me In" by never seeing Rumble Fish.

Avoided it, actually, because I was forced to watch The Outsiders around the same time an English class I was in was forced to read it, and I never understood Francis Ford Coppola's infatuation with S.E. Hinton.  She wasn't, so far as I can recall when I dredge the muddy abyss of my memory, a terrible writer, I just didn't find her particularly interesting and what she was writing about committed a worse offense than the easily-forgivable crime of not speaking to me: it didn't speak to me even though it obviously tried to in a heavy and ham-handed way.  I mean, as a reader, the majority of books aren't written for you, and that's alright: you don't like horror, or you don't like legal dramas, or you don't like literary postmodern angst, or, whatever, and so you pick up such-and-such a book and you put it down (finished or not, depending on whether you were raised to clean your plate or to abandon lost causes early), and you say, "Ah, well, I never liked ______" and move along.  But every now and then you're reading a book that is the literary equivalent of someone with personal space issues; and you aren't captivated by its charms but it keeps trying to get into your face to say, "No, really, you love me because I'm about you and how you feel and the commonalities of people like you", and it's really sort of presumptuous and insulting, and what's worst of all is when it's assigned reading and you can't get out of it even if you aren't a plate-finisher who feels obligated to finish a book you started however tedious you find the whole damned thing.

This is all subjective.  Your mileage, as the Internet kids like to say these days, may vary.  But I was woefully underwhelmed by the novel The Outsiders and the movie--well, the movie became a bit of an ironic in-joke for Gen Xers of a certain age-range, I think.  "Stay gold, Ponyboy."

So I avoided Rumble Fish.  I also avoided Tex, which wasn't a Francis Ford Coppola film, but I think I saw quite a lot of it on television before the Eighties ended.

You know, some really great music aside, the Eighties really, really sucked.  I'm getting depressed now.

Subject change: is "Don't Box Me In" around forty kinds of awesome, or what?


John the Scientist Friday, September 21, 2012 at 7:05:00 PM EDT  

You konw, I never saw any of those 3 films, nor read the books. And I'm solid in that Gen-X age range. When the hell was that stuff popular?

timb111 Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 11:04:00 AM EDT  

I think it was written in the 1950's. I read Outsiders in the late 60's. The movies were made much later.

BTW John, A year or so ago you advised against consuming drinks with sugar replacements, Aspartame in particular. I did it and now I enjoy natural fruits a lot more. No weight gain either. Thanks.

Anonymous,  Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 10:19:00 AM EDT  

This has always been one of my favorite Stan songs. I don't remember seeing the movie at the time it came out, but I do remember the song....

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